Manchester City are monitoring Erling Haaland 24 hours a day in an effort to keep the Norwegian fit for the season run-in.
City are still in the hunt for the Premier League, Champions League and FA Cup and Pep Guardiola is so desperate to have Haaland available that he says the 45-goal striker is being wrapped in cotton wool.
– Stream on ESPN+: LaLiga, Bundesliga, more (U.S.)
“We take care of him 24 hours, we have incredible doctors and physios, they are behind him every second of the day,” Guardiola told a news conference on Friday.
“It’s difficult to understand why you spend a lot of money [on players] and then leave them — I don’t know what the other clubs do.
“Today with this demanding schedule of games every three or four days we have to take care of them.
“Sometimes they cannot train more than 10 or 15 minutes. People say why was he [Haaland] subbed against Leipzig when he’d scored all the goals but then he was injured after the Burnley game and cannot play with us against Liverpool.”
“He works so much time inside the training centre, much more than on the pitch. Today in modern football, players train more behind the scenes than on the pitch.”
City face Leicester at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday, sitting six points behind leaders Arsenal. Guardiola’s team have a game in hand and Arsenal will visit the Etihad on April 26 but, according to the 52-year-old, City are still not favourites to lift the title.
“I would love to be in Arsenal’s position right now,” said Guardiola.
“I don’t know what will happen in one week, or in another nine games but I’m delighted to be in the position we are.
“I don’t think much about anything but Leicester. I don’t care about titles or no titles. Six or seven weeks before the end of the season, being there all of the time, in this moment the team is defending well. attacking well and that’s good.”
Meanwhile, Guardiola has refused to comment on the possibility of Borussia Dortmund midfielder Jude Bellingham arriving in the summer.
Liverpool have pulled out of the race for the England midfielder’s signature, leaving City, Real Madrid and Manchester United among the clubs battling it out.
Asked whether City are trying to sign Bellingham, Guardiola said: “How many press conferences? You know the answer, you have to prepare better, knowing that I’m going to give good answers to your questions “